New York -- The swirling rumor has finally come to fruition as social media giant Facebook has acquired Face.com, a facial recognition start-up, in a likely attempt to make photo-tagging easier on the social network.
Although the acquisition is not a total surprise, Face.com confirmed the acquisition on its blog today, saying that its work with Facebook will offer it “more opportunities” to build products.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook would apparently disburse around $100 million on the purchase--roughly one tenth of what the company plans to spend on Instagram.
Interestingly, Face.com's technology can identify Facebook users' faces in photos or live video. The company already offers a Facebook app called Photo Tagger, which can identify faces and suggest photo tags, in addition it also offers a standalone iPhone app called Klik that can identify friends in real time and adapt image filters to people's faces. Face.com also offers an API so other app developers can use the company's technology.
Klik, an iPhone app by Face.com, identifies your Facebook friends in real time and lets users apply photo filters. Image Credit: (PCWorld)
With the acquisition, Facebook will envelop the Face.com team in house. The start-up says it plans to keep supporting third-party developers with its APIs.
The Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup offers application programming interfaces (API) for third-party developers to integrate Face.com's facial-recognition software into their applications. The company has so far unleashed two Facebook applications: Photo Finder, which allows people to find untagged pictures of themselves and their Facebook friends, and Photo Tagger, which lets people automatically bulk-tag photos on Facebook. Face.com launched its open API in 2010 to help third-party developers get into the mix.
“People who adopted Facebook enjoy sharing photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com's technology has helped to provide the best photo experience,” a Facebook spokesperson informed CNET today in an e-mailed statement. “This transaction simply brings a world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house.”
In today's blog post, Face.com particularly indicated at mobile as a “critical part of people's lives,” but did not say exactly what it might do at Facebook. That said, Face.com did note that Facebook will continue to support Face.com's developer community.
“We love building products, and like our friends at Facebook, we think that mobile is a critical part of people’s lives as they both create and consume content, and share content with their social graph,” the blog post says.
Nevertheless, considering Facebook's pending Instagram acquisition and the launch of its own Facebook Camera app, it is obvious that Facebook is turning a lot more attention to mobile photo-sharing. With Face.com in-house, Facebook will be able to help users tag photos faster on their mobile devices--provided they can get over the creepiness of doing so.